STAY IN THE KNOW: UNCOVER THESE 6 GOLD COAST LOCAL GEMS

Maybe you’ve been to the Gold Coast before, but we guarantee there are still unexplored corners of our destination waiting to be discovered. They’re not that hard to find – you just have to know where to look. Luckily we’re more than happy to spread the love and share some local knowledge. Read on for some of Gold Coast’s local gems, including creature encounters, fresh produce providers and full permission to play with sharp objects. 

DAVID FLEAY WILDLIFE PARK

gold coast local gems

Tucked away behind Burleigh Heads, on the banks of Tallebudgera Creek, is a local treasure that’s been there for almost 70 years – David Fleay Wildlife Park. This tranquil conservation sanctuary is home to a variety of native animals including Australian icons like koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, dingoes and emus. David Fleay was a pioneer in wildlife conservation and his legacy is a magical spot for the next generation of nature lovers to learn about the environment. Spend a fascinating few hours exploring the leafy grounds, where boardwalks weave between exhibits. The animals live in spacious enclosures that closely resemble their native habitat. Koalas curl up in the branches of old gum trees and the massive resident croc has his own private plunge pool/billabong. The staff at Fleay’s give presentations where you’ll learn a lot about the creatures they care for. Step inside the dark nocturnal house, let your eyes adjust and you’ll discover rarely seen creatures like the bilby digging in its sandy burrow, and a famous Fleay’s exclusive – an underwater view of a platypus swimming around his waterhole. When you leave, take a detour and follow the boardwalk outside the entrance for a short stroll through the mangrove habitats of the creek
Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads

LUMBER PUNKS

local gems

The cathartic effects of hurling sharp objects at a chunk of wood are severely underrated. Ask anyone who’s hurled an axe at Lumber Punks and they’ll agree. This urban axe throwing venue has become a popular fixture in Miami – it’s a unique way to have some fun, let off some steam and engage in some healthy competition. It’s akin to playing darts, but with axes. You get some preliminary skills and safety training to start the session, practicing with smaller training axes before moving on to the big guns (well axes, actually). The staff can help you perfect your technique and before long you’ll be rewarded with the deeply satisfying “thunk” of the axe burying itself in the bullseye. Whilst this activity is mainly for the 18+ crowd, children aged 14-17 can take part with a parent present and participating in the session. Continue the post-axe party at Lost Palms Brewing Co or Miami Marketta, which can be found a couple of blocks away.
19 Ozone Parade, Miami

CURRUMBIN COMMUNITY MARKETS 

currumbin markets gold coast local gemsFill your basket with fresh produce from local farmers and foodies at this boutique weekly market. Flowers, fruit and veg, bakery goods, take home meals and all sorts of delicious delicacies can be sourced at Currumbin Community Markets. Don’t eat breakfast before you go – you’ll want an excuse to sample something from the food stalls. Enjoy an alfresco market breakfast enhanced by sunshine and live acoustic music. No wonder this wholesome community market is such a beloved local hangout. Kids and dogs welcome, every Thursday from 7-11am, opposite the Currumbin RSL.
164 Duringan St, Currumbin

SNORKEL WITH THE  TURTLES

gold coast local gems

If you’re up for an aquatic adventure with amphibious friends, then head to Cook Island – home to a permanent population of turtles. Hop on board a snorkelling tour and take a short cruise down the Tweed River, out to the island just off Fingal Head on the Queensland/NSW border. Once you arrive at the destination, it’s overboard for a turtle-y awesome time. An experienced snorkel guide is with you in the water to ensure you feel safe and will be a wealth of information about all the marine life you’ll see. On any given day you’ll be swimming with numerous turtles plus subtropical fish, rays, crustaceans, dolphins and whales. It’s an eco-conscious adventure where you can enjoy the wonders of the Pacific Ocean below water level and the beauty of the Tweed/Coolangatta coastline above. Watersports Guru and Cooly Eco Adventures both offer this incredible experience.
Watersports Guru: Sutherland St, Kingscliff (NSW)
Cooly Eco Adventures: 114 Dry Dock Rd, Tweed Heads South (NSW)

 MIAMI FISH MARKET

local gems fish

When you’re this close to the ocean, fresh seafood is a must on the menu and it doesn’t get any fresher than Miami Fish Market – the Gold Coast’s new supplier of responsibly sourced, sustainable seafood. With a focus on local, you can pick up a huge selection of fresh and live seafood. You’ll be blown away by the quality and variety – from scampi, cod, marinated prawns, crayfish, shellfish and the most delectable oysters. If you’re overwhelmed with the choice, the friendly staff are more than happy to share their passion and knowledge to help you select the right ingredients for your seafood feast. And if you just can’t wait, pull up a stool in the courtyard and place an order at the specialist oyster and sashimi bar.
1/54 Paradise Ave, Miami

SOUTHERN CROSS 4WD TOURS

gold coast local gems

If you’re visiting the city without a car, it can be hard to get to the hinterland, which is one of our best assets and definitely deserves a visit. Cue Southern Cross Tours,  your ideal hinterland transit solution. You get a fully chauffeured and intimate tour to some of the best hinterland hideaways with a warm, enthusiastic guide who has a ton of local knowledge to share. Different tours offer different experiences, but all of them provide the opportunity to get off the beaten track and experience the beauty and charm of our hinterland region. Choose to explore Springbrook or Mount Tamborine. You might go on guided bush walks to waterfalls in ancient rainforests, indulge in a spot of wine tasting, animal spotting or bird feeding and stop at a little cafe for a traditional Devonshire Tea. Or take an evening tour and witness glow worms twinkling away in their natural habitat. It’s a fun, informative day from the moment you get picked up until the time you get dropped off back at your accommodation.

If you enjoyed this story you might also like: Hidden Gems of the Gold Coast.

Circle on Cavill, Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise

Want to know about different things to do next time you’re on a Gold Coast adventure? Subscribe to our email list below to receive holiday inspiration and exclusive deals direct to your inbox.